CEO SUMMARY 2016-2017
Over the last five years we have been working hard to establish a meaningful journey of recovery from homelessness for many vulnerable people. We have had the conviction to put good ideas in practice, evaluate the outcomes and share the learning with our partners when it has provided the kind of services to restore lives.
Since 2010 we have delivered an ambitious programme and developed our projects across Chichester and Arun to:
- Engage more constructively and effectively with rough sleepers.
- Offer wider recovery options to motivate people to change their lives.
- Prevent homelessness by improving our support to vulnerably housed people.
In 2015 we opened our latest project The Lodge – the only accommodation in West Sussex offering five independent bedsits dedicated to homeless people discharged from hospital, including individuals with mental health issues for whom Hostel accommodation is not a suitable environment. It was also the year Stonepillow Restore, our first social enterprise, became a self-financing project and our annual fundraising event The Big SleepOut raised over £18,000.
Our vision over the next three years is to maintain and develop the services we offer our clients. We plan to remain focused on increasing our capital assets and for Stonepillow to continue its charitable work with as much independence as possible from Governmental influence for the future. Our projects follow a programme of development to fill local gaps that are not served by public services and to offer a wider range of meaningful options for each vulnerable individual that seeks our help. We will support our local communities by reducing the obstacles experienced by single homeless people, mainly created by funding restrictions between health, housing and work matters that continue to be treated separately.
Most of us understand that people who are homeless or offenders or drug/alcohol misusers, also face a wider set of challenges. It would be hard to imagine that a person who has fallen into a drug problem, for example, is not dealing with an underlying root-cause possibly stemming from childhood or mental health issues and is not facing a completely new set of problems as a result of their drug taking.
Although this is an obvious assumption, society and public services still categorise people in ‘separate’ boxes defined by single issues. For example, a person who takes drugs to deal with a childhood trauma, then falls into offending as a consequence and loses their home, will acquire three distinct labels when entering prison. Each label triggering a different response from statutory agencies, different approaches to their ‘treatment/solution’ and different attitudes from the press/general public.
There are 58,000 people in England who face overlapping problems of homelessness, substance misuse and contact with the criminal justice system in any one year. These people recycle around local services without getting the effective help that they need, at a significant cost to their own health & wellbeing but cost also to the public purse. By delivering a tailored support focused on Health, Housing and Work, we remain positive that local Councils understand that Stonepillow is part of the long term solution in reducing the number of entrenched rough sleepers in the South East of England but as an organisation, we continue to face tougher competition, as public procurement favours larger contracts.
In terms of service delivery, we have identified six key strategic goals that will continue to steer us towards where we want to be in three years’ time. We will continue to review these, learning and working in partnership with our clients, our staff/volunteers and our funders to ensure they remain relevant and are delivered at a high standard of quality.